Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Streak Is Elusive to Devils

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Streak Is Elusive to Devils

Article excerpt

NEWARK - It's going to be very difficult for the Devils to make the playoffs if they can't find a way to win more than two games in a row.

They came up short in their bid for a three-game winning streak again Sunday afternoon, falling 4-2 to the San Jose Sharks at Prudential Center.

Coming off lopsided wins over Columbus (5-2) and the Islanders (6- 1) following the Olympic break, the Devils were in position to at least pick up a point by reaching overtime until Matt Nieto snapped a 2-2 tie 6:20 into the third period by finishing off a 3-on-2 rush.

The Devils have won three games in a row only once this season and not since Nov. 16 to Nov. 21.

"This was a really big game," defenseman Eric Gelinas said. "Six points out of three games this weekend would have been really good for us."

Sunday's loss left the Devils three points behind Detroit for playoff spot with 20 games remaining. The Red Wings, who have two games in hand, visit the Devils on Tuesday and host them on Friday for two contests pivotal to the Devils' postseason chances.

"You've got to have a short-term memory this time of year," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win [Sunday], we didn't and we've got to regroup and be ready for Tuesday because they're all big."

Between two games against Detroit comes the NHL's trade deadline at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

If the Devils are going to convince GM Lou Lamoriello to keep this group together - and not sell off pieces such as Jaromir Jagr but add scoring help instead - a victory over the Red Wings on Tuesday is almost essential.

"We have a great group of guys in this locker room and everyone gets along and wants to win for each other," defenseman Andy Greene said. "At the same time, that's the business aspect of it."

Whether longtime Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur will be traded probably won't be impacted as much by the team's playoff position because the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer is just looking for an opportunity to play more. …

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